Day 16 (78 miles)

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
1
17
36
Trip End Aug 09, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Montana
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

it was another hot one today. fortunately, today our ride was a little bit shorter, and we were able to get into camp early. nevertheless, there were frequent water and gas station stops. we tend to get gas stations every 15-30 miles, and they're becoming beacons of being comfortable. we fill up our water bottles and camel baks with ice, maybe drink down a soda (incidentally, soda is rocket fuel for cyclists...pure carbs and caffeine with some hydration to boot), and sit in the air conditioned lounge. sometimes, they even have a little sitting area that we take over. when we get one of those, the helmets, gloves, and shoes all come off... at one of the water stops where we met with velva and the van, there were some really nice horses sitting in the shade. they were very friendly and let us pet them. one of them had a single blue eye, though, which i've never seen in a horse. it looked a little creepy...

another trend we noticed was silly town names...today we passed through zurich and kremlin.

one of the towns we passed through, havre, was "big" enough to have a bike shop, and after all the problems we had with tires and tubes the last few days, julie and i really needed to get some new spares. we each had one spare tube and no spare tires...not a good situation to be in, especially if we hit another stretch of road like outside of browning. unfortunately, the bike shop didn't carry any road tubes or tires, and when i pointed it out, the guy got really bitted and accused me of being an "elite cyclist". we don't think he knew that his bike shop was labeled on the maps we bought, and apparently he runs into folks who are bicycle touring through montana frequently and finding themselves in the middle of nowhere and in dire need of equipment. hopefully he figures it out because he could make a killing!

when we got to harlem, we found our city park adjoined the city pool, and the guy at the door was nice enough to grant us free entry and...showers! jumping into the pool felt so nice and refreshing after the hot bike ride and yesterday's lack of showers. unfortunately, our campsite was swarming with gnats and mosquitos. lucky for us, though, the restrooms were located in city hall, and there was an anteroom before them with air conditioning where we could hide out from all the nasty bugs. many people whiled away the afternoon in there. after dinner, it was my turn to clean up, and i found myself standing in the strangest positions to keep the gnats from flying into my ears. the family from the day before also camped with us again today, so we got to talk with them some more. they're really fun, and it's definitely nice to have some fresh company.

and...today was a special day because we passed 1,000 miles! to celebrate, part of the team (i.e. those not asleep by 8 pm) went to the local cafe for a celebratory ice cream. after the ice cream, i braved the gnats and mosquitoes to walk over to main street and sit outside while "borrowing" a wireless connection. they were worse over there even than at the park, so what i ended up doing was spooling my email and loading all the web pages i wanted to look at, running back to the city hall and stepping inside to read everything and write responses, and quickly jumping back over to main street to send my emails before going back to hide in my tent and go to sleep.

sometime during the night, a truck went through town spewing out insecticide for the mosquitos. i felt a little bit uneasy about being outside while it went by, but i'm also scared to think of how nasty they would be without the spray. eep!
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